Ariz. Republican who stood up to Trump after 2020 won’t seek reelection

PHOENIX — After years of violent threats and harassment for accepting the results of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county of Maricopa, the Republican who led the Board of Supervisors during the last presidential election said Thursday that he will not run for reelection.

Clint Hickman (R), 59, an egg farmer and former Trump supporter who twice refused to answer phone calls from the former president after his loss and has provided information to special counsel Jack Smith’s investigators about his experience, said his time will be better spent with his wife and kids.

Hickman, who has represented an area west of Phoenix for a decade, told The Washington Post that he will serve out his term through early 2025 and carry out his election-related duties that are part of his job through the 2024 election before stepping down.

“To be able to give back to a place that has given so much to me is an honor,” Hickman said in a statement. “But time is a valuable commodity. We use it and we never get it back.”

Hickman is part of a wave of elected Republicans who have clashed with Trump and have decided to retire from public office.

His decision comes amid continued attacks on the GOP-led county’s administration of elections in Arizona’s most populous metropolis, a county that is once again poised to play a major role in a presidential election. It has become routine for critics of the board to shout down county supervisors during public meetings. In recent months, agitators have been escorted out of meetings by sheriff’s deputies.

Maricopa County was central to efforts four years ago to overturn Trump’s loss, and when that failed, to cast suspicion on the results through an unreliable review of more than a million ballots that was led by a Florida-based firm known as “Cyber Ninjas.”

Hickman is the second Republican in eight months who’d been critical of his own party’s handling of Trump and election denialism to decide against pursuing another term to sit on the five-member county board. It reflects the continued command of the Arizona party by election-denying Republicans, led by Trump and his allies and senate candidate Kari Lake. In June, Supervisor Bill Gates, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of sustained attacks on him and his family after the 2020 election, said he would not run.

Both seats are on the 2024 ballot and could test the potency of traditional conservatism and Trumpism.

The last presidential electoral outcome drew conspiracies involving Hickman and his business and threats against him and his family. In the days after the contest, Hickman rejected appeals by allies of Trump to stop counting votes and to delay certification of the election results. Along with then-House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R), who later testified before the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack, Hickman examined claims of widespread voter fraud and determined that they were untrue. Saying he was adhering to the requirements of his oath of office, he voted to canvass the 2020 election results. As MAGA supporters protested outside of his home in the days after they election, Hickman prepared his two sons to defend themselves and their home if protesters turned violent and sheriff’s deputies were overrun.

In 2021, MAGA supporters falsely claimed that fires that burned down two barns at one of his family’s farms had destroyed ballots from the 2020 general election. Last summer, he came face-to-face in federal court with a man from Iowa who in 2021 threatened Hickman’s life and was later sentenced to prison.

Hickman’s experiences were featured in a 2021 Washington Post investigation describing the events that led up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol and how the misinformation and threats proliferated following it.

Hickman said he was proud of his time on the board, especially his chairmanship during the deadly 2020 pandemic. But the job, he said, is no longer appealing. In a statement, Hickman said that his family “has been gracious and unselfish” in supporting him, even when his decisions “brought significant attention and had profound impact.”

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